Why Does My Dog Look at Me on Walks? Here’s Why!

We’ve all been there. Taking a lovely long hike in the countryside with your doggy, maybe you are taking your precious woofie along the beach to show off his new cute little coat, or even when you are taking him on a playdate with his favorite little furry friend.

You might be in a hurry or walking calmly and wonder why your dog keeps looking up at you!

The psychology of our precious pets is fascinating and a world of wonder as to how they interact with their beloved owners.

Time to end the pondering of ‘why does my dog look at me on walks?’ as we give you the definitive answer!

So let’s get straight down to the mini takeaway before we delve a little deeper into this fascinating topic.

Why does my dog look at me on walks? It’s most likely in a bid to communicate his feelings to you, simply to encourage you to walk faster or to check in with the leader of the pack. If it’s unclear, then try to take in your surroundings for some clues. Think in terms of the pack to leader mentality.

Ok, that’s the quick answer! Now we need to dive in a bit deeper…

So that we can better understand why your dog might look at you on walks, let’s first start with some background as to how your furry angel communicates.

How does my dog communicate?

According to expert and doggy-listener Stan Rawlinson, so we can really understand what our doggie is trying to say to us, it’s crucial that we not only listen to them but also see what they’re trying to tell us.

Dogs pick up clues from us and are constantly learning how to interact by assessing what works and what doesn’t, each time he interacts with you.

Dogs are great students of human behavior and draw conclusions based on your actions.

So when they see you talking with others, communicating with body language, and any kind of human interaction, they will likely learn some important lessons, such as when they look up at you when out on a walk.

What is my dog’s eye contact telling me?

It’s not difficult to understand that eyes can reveal much about other people by looking into their eyes.

As William Shakespeare once eloquently said,

‘eyes are the windows to the soul!’

You can tell an awful lot about other people by looking into their eyes. Your peepers can reveal disinterest, anger, nervousness, and of course, even intense attraction!

So is it the same with a dog when he’s looking at you on a walk? Let’s look further into this.

Dogs communicate through their eyes like humans

Dogs are exactly the same as humans and will communicate through their eyes. It is commonly thought that when a dog looks directly into your eyes, it’s a sign of love and affection.

However as this may often be the case, sometimes it can actually be the exact opposite!

For instance, according to other experts, a dog who holds eye contact with you while having a tense expression is not typically looking for a kiss!

Also, when a dog turns his head away but still looks at you, revealing the whites of their eyes, they are likely to be upset, and can easily turn aggressive.

This is commonly known as “whale eye”. It does not typically happen between a pet dog and their owner, but can sometimes occur when visitors arrive or when out and he spots someone or something that might make him nervous.

“a dog who holds eye contact with you while having a tense
expression is not typically looking for a kiss!”

Look around you for clues

It’s hard to tell if your dog’s glance at you on a walk is whale eye or just that he’s looking for a little reassurance! But a quick glance around you might give you enough clues.

Otherwise, dogs having more regular looks, relaxed eyes are letting you know that they are content, relaxed, and happy, so it could be he’s just checking that you are enjoying the walk as much as he is!

If a dog’s eyes become very large and rounded, they are communicating to you that they are surprised and/or frightened.

So when you’re on your daily walk, he may be alerting you to something he’s seen which you haven’t. Perhaps a larger dog approaching for instance.

When you compare these characteristics to those of humans, it is really not that much different.

Pay close attention to your dog’s signals

By paying close attention, you should be able to determine what your dog is really trying to tell you when out on a walk by reading their eyes.

Ok, so you might also be wondering how to get your dog to look up at you while on a walk!

It’s always important to make sure you can get their attention in important situations such as crossing roads, meeting other humans and dogs, or any other potential safety zone.

So let’s take a look at some of our top reasons why your dog might be looking at you on a walk!

  • Letting you know he’s still there
  • Checking to see what he should do next
  • Encouraging you to walk faster/slow down
  • Showing affection
  • Thanking you for this walk
  • Alerting you to a potential situation
  • Letting you know he’s a good boy and still focused on you
  • Making sure you are enjoying the walk as much as he is!

How do I get my dog to look at me when on a walk?

One of the big challenges when taking a dog on a walk is the number of distractions available to the dog.

This can make it very difficult to get their attention directed towards you when you need it.

It can take months or years to get a dog to fully connect with you when you are walking them. A lot of constant effort.

Some methods that work with some dogs or breeds do not work with others. You have to be creative.

The fact that your dog already looks to you to check-in, as a trusted leader, is a godsend. I would recommend you do everything you can to encourage that to continue and to even scale it up.

Are they treat-focused? Then occasionally give them a treat when they look at you. Are they more concerned with getting verbal encouragement? Give them that.

You can also give them something to do occasionally when they look at you, like stop, heel, sit, stay, etc.

Ok, so you might have some other questions about your doggie and how he communicates with eye contact on walks.

It could be you are wondering if you should look back at him too! so let’s answer that for you below.

Should I look back at my dog?

According to canine specialists, vcahospitals, new research suggests that dogs have the innate ability to observe and learn from human gestures and eye gaze.

Curiously wolves, where much of our knowledge of dog behavior is found, don’t display this ability.

Dogs can also be taught to watch a person’s face on cue and this can be very helpful in the prevention and treatment of behavior problems.

For example, if a dog doesn’t like other dogs then while passing other dogs he can be given a “watch” cue and rewarded for watching his owner.

And finally…

So there it is! Everything you need to know about why your puppy angel might look up at you during your daily walk.

While you are making sure you have a better understanding of your doggie and how he uses his eyes to communicate with you, don’t forget to check out our store with everything you need to make sure your pet is happy, safe, and loved!

Beautiful designer and couture jackets and hoodies to keep him snug when he’s out and about, lots of gorgeous bedding and everything he needs for his wellbeing, along with charms and cute little hair bows.

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